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Christmas trees going for hefty prices in New York

China Daily | Updated: 2018-12-12 23:17
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New Yorkers are used to things being pricey in the run-up to Christmas, but there's one more thing that's set to cost more this holiday —Christmas trees.

They cost from $85 to $1,000 and even more – depending on the height – a sharp increase from recent years, the sellers say.

On Manhattan's Upper West Side near Lincoln Center, a tree seller (who would not give her name) said she's charging more because of a shortage. Her cheapest trees go for $45 and a 14-foot tree will cost $1,000 or more, she said.

"The price of our biggest trees went up this year because they've been harder to get. There are just fewer farms around that do pretty trees. There has definitely been less supply of the big ones," she told China Daily.

Despite fewer trees and higher prices, she said her stand gets many repeat customers. "They come so often we get to see their kids grow up,'' she added.

One tree seller had to pay $40,000 to get a permit from the Department of Parks and Recreation to set up his stand, according to The Wall Street Journal. Scott Lechner, manager of SoHo trees in New York, told the newspaper that he paid the hefty sum to sell trees at the Washington Market Park in Tribeca, in lower Manhattan.

Lechner said that he charges $150 and up for a 6- to 7-foot tree like a Canadian fir or Fraser fir. It used to cost $130 a few years ago, he said.

The New York Department of Parks and Recreation this year issued permits for 16 tree stands in the boroughs of Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens.

Doug Hundley, a spokesman for the National Christmas Tree Association in Littleton, Colorado, said that Christmas trees take 8 to 10 years to grow and that can't be speeded up.

"The trees on the market today were planted between 2007 and 2009," Hundley told China Daily. "In 2007, we were in a recession and they planted too few trees."

Americans are buying fewer real Christmas trees in favor of plastic trees, he said, and many them are made in China: "Americans now like to buy plastic trees for convenience. As people age, they want to take things easier.''

Numbers provided by Hundley's association show that at least 75 percent of American households now own a plastic tree.

A woman on the Upper West Side was buying five small Christmas trees instead of a big one this year.

"I used to buy a big one every year, but after I lost my husband five years ago, it's just me. My kids are all grown up, they've moved away to Europe ."

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